Select Page



Noun, pl. ossicles

1. The three smallest bones in the human body, the malleus, the incus, and the stapes. They are contained within the middle ear space and serve to transmit sounds from the air to the fluid-filled labyrinth (cochlea). The absence of the auditory ossicles would constitute a moderate-to-severe hearing loss. (

2. A small bone (or bony structure), especially one of the three of the middle ear. (

1. Bone-like joint or plate, especially:

a. one of numerous small calcareous structures forming the skeleton of certain echinoderms, as the starfishes;
b. one of the hard articuli or joints of the stem or branches of a crinoid or encrinite;
c. one of the several small hard chitinous parts or processes of the gastric skeleton of crustaceans, as in the stomach of a lobster or crawfish.
d. The skeleton of echinoderms is made of ossicles, linked to each other via muscles and connective tissue.

Syn: auditory ossicles

Word origin: From Latin ossiculum, diminutive of os , “bone.”

Related entries

Struggling in Biology?

Are You Premed?

Confused about the MCAT? Not sure how to prepare? This guide will show you how